Mass Extinction: Reversing the Trajectory

Originally published: 
January, 2017

Could the Earth be in the midst of its sixth mass extinction? Some scientists believe so, and SNRE's Johannes Foufopoulos (Conservation Ecology) took to Michigan Radio's Stateside program to share insight on this view. You can listen to the full interview here.

In short, a mass extinction is a period in Earth's history when abnormally large numbers of species die out within a limited timeframe. The elimination of the dinosaur populaiton roughly 65 million years ago, for example, is considered to be the fifth mass extinction in Earth's history. There is evidence to suggest that a sixth mass extinction is currently underway, and that this time human beings are at fault for the decline in species richness and abundance. The environmental impacts of human activites such as habitat destruction and overharvesting have increased exponentially over the years, and a similar increase has been observed in the loss of species. While this trend is not promising, Professor Foufopoulos suggests actions that can be taken to mitigate this great danger. Find out more in his full interview.

Photo courtesy: Tom Benson, Flickr,

Fields of Study: 
Conservation Ecology